So I've been meaning to write up a journal/description of how I eat/live/exercize for a while now. My dad has a friend with health problems similar to what I am dealing with, and wanted me to write up something to give her, after he's seen how well I'm doing. So I figured I'd get two things done at once, and basically write up my "primal lifestyle" journal on here, but include the bits pertaining to the specific health problems I have; hopefully someone here on MDA will find it helpful!
So, a little about me...I'm 24 years old, female, athletic, artistic, and have always been tall and thin. When I was younger, we ate lots of salads from my dad's garden, but everything else I ate was either a dairy product, sugary, or grain. Seriously. I barely ate any meat and happily subsisted on cereal and milk, bread, PB&J sandwhiches, fruit, veggies, candy and ice cream up until my freshman year in college with no apparent ill effects!
Then everything kind of went downhill from there. I gained about 15lbs, and then about halfway through the semester, the left half of my body slowly started going numb. At first the doctors I saw didn't know what was going on, but after a spinal tap and MRI (ugh!) I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (for those who don't know what MS is--its an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks the coating of your nerves, hence all the wierd symptoms you can get with it--fatigue, paralysis, numbness, vision problems etc...) when I was 18 years old. The numbness cleared up on its own, and the doctor started me on Betaseron (an "interfearon" drug--basically supresses your immune system...side effects are feeling sick all the time and being depressed. lovely... LOL)
So I was on Betaseron for a few years, and continued to eat my usual old way. Finally I just couldn't take feeling like I had the flu constantly and being soooo depressed anymore, so I changed doctors and begged to be put on something else. I changed to another conventional MS drug, Copaxone, that I took for several months until I had a horrible allergic reaction to it where all my lymph nodes started swelling up, and then finally my face did too. So that was the end of that! I've now later learned that the 4 conventional MS drugs have something like less than 30% effectiveness at preventing progression and relapses. Noooot too good!
So after I had to quit the Copaxone, I asked my doctor to prescripe low-dose naltrexone for me, which is used in an off-label way to treat autoimmune diseases and other things like HIV and cancer. Basically how it works is you take a very small dose of naltrexone (3-4.5mg) at night, and during the night it blocks the opioid receptors in your brain, fooling your body into producing more endorphins, which regulate your immune system. So basically instead of SURPRESSING your immune system, you are UP-REGULATING your immune system. Here is a link for anyone who is interested in learning more about this drug:
So I've been taking LDN for a little over a year now, with no relapses and have been feeling better and better as time goes on. At first, I was eating basically a "whole foods" diet, not necesarilly low-carb or primal. Ever since changing to a primal lifestyle a few months ago, my energy levels (fatigue was the main MS symptom that I was expieriencing) have been steadily going up, in spite of working full time as a nurse and doing a lot of other things in my spare time. So that's my story in a nutshell! Hope it wasn't too long or rambly...
There are a few things that I feel are especially important for people with MS to know:
*Gluten in grains and casien in dairy (probably to a lesser extent) is a major cause of autoimmune diseases. It causes "leaky gut" which allows undigested protiens out into the system, which can then trigger an autoimmune reaction in persons who are suseptible. Also, pretty much everybody is intolerant to gluten on some level; humans never evolved to consume grains. So I do not eat any grains or any dairy (except for ghee--clarified butter--all casien and lactose are removed).
*The conventional MS drugs don't really work that well, and the side effects are horrible! Low-dose naltrexone is a extremely effective way of treatment with NO side effects! I'm sure that there are some people out there who it didn't work that well for, but overall, anecdotal evidance that is is effective has been overwhelming! And I believe there are finally some clinical trials in progres as well. There has been a bit of a delay on this becuase it is an old drug and no one can patent it anymore, so there is no drug companies to fund the trials.
*Basically, my diet consists of grass fed beef, pastured pork, pastured chicken, pastured lamb, fish, eggs, veggies, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, nuts, seeds, berries, occasional fruit, coconut milk, lots of spices!, tea, olives...I try to keep carbohydrates low (ranging from maybeee 30-90g/day...I don't really count) and get them mainly from veggies, and then a few nuts and berries.
So far, after tons of research and coming to the conclusion that the primal diet is the way to go, I've had no problems related to MS, and have lost about 10lbs! My fiancee, who is also eating a primal diet + occasional diary, has lost about 45lbs!!
so, that's it for now...I'll try to update this regularly with interesting things I find and how I am doing health-wise, and what supplements I take.
Thanks for reading if you've made it to the end of this novel LOL!!